Native to Mesoamerica, the cacao tree is a small evergreen that typically grows to only 40 feet.
It has small, white flowers and a football-shaped fruit, a cacao pod, that contains 40 to 60 seeds. The fat from these seeds is the source of cocoa butter. Raw cacao has recently been recognized as a superfood, something the ancient Maya knew 2,000 years ago. Cacao was a popular tonic for the royals, part of every one of their ceremonies, and was immortalized in their art.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Mexico, Central America, South America
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Stimulant, diuretic, febrifuge, aphrodisiac, hypotensive, and used to treat, anemia, poor appetite, mental fatigue, poor lactation, kidney stones, low virility, gout, hemorrhoids, gastritis, stress, low self-esteem, fear, timidity. It alleviates mental fatigue and PMS, and treats vaginal irritation and stretch marks.
To soothe the skin, create a salve with equal parts cocoa butter and sesame or almond oil. Apply directly on the skin. This is also great for cracked lips, and on the hands and feet. For hypertension and as a diuretic, place 2 fresh leaves in 2 cups boiling water. Drink in one sitting. For hemorrhoids or vaginal irritation, make suppositories with 3 parts cacao butter to 1 part almond oil. Blend, and place it in plastic wrap. Shape it into the appropriate size and shape, and chill it for 1 hour. Remove from plastic wrap and insert into the anus or vagina For low self-esteem, fear, and timidity, eat 1 cacao bean or 1/2 ounce dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao) 30 minutes prior to entering a stressful situation, meeting, or encounter.
MAYA CACAO - DRINK OFTHE GODS
This recipe, ancient in origin, is not the sweet hot chocolate with which most are familiar. It is used at modern-day ceremonies-weddings, birthdays, anniversaries-and is great to treat both coughs and gastritis. For authenticity, use unsweetened Maya cacao crafted in Mexico or Honduras. The red chile is what gives this drink its characteristic flavor. Give it a try!
3 cups water
1 to 2 cinnamon sticks
8 ounces bittersweet Maya chocolate paste (or 3 tablets Mexican unsweetened chocolate, cut into small pieces)
2 tablespoons wild pure honey or raw sugar to taste 1 pinch of dried red chili
1 dried organic grown vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 tablespoon roasted peanuts, ground extra fine (this Aztec ingredient is optional)
¥ In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water to a boil.
¥ Add the cinnamon sticks, and cook until the liquid is reduced to 2 V2 cups.
¥ Remove the cinnamon sticks; add the vanilla bean and lower the heat to medium.
¥ Wait until bubbles appear around the edge,
and then reduce the heat to low. Add the chocolate pieces and honey. Optionally, add the ground peanuts.
¥ Mix well, and whisk occasionally until chocolate is melted.
¥ Turn off heat, and remove vanilla bean.
Whisk vigorously to create a light foam effect.
¥ Sprinkle with the dried chili pepper, and serve.
If you used peanuts in the recipe, sprinkle a bit more on top. Milk is not traditionally used, but you may add some to taste.